Thanks for the course – my mind has been buzzing all day with phonic thoughts, and I began implementing games into the session I had with New Entrants on pre-school visits today – very successful. In 25 years of educating in wildly diverse jobs and situations I think that yesterdays course has to be the best I’ve been on.

Nicky Edwards


Thank you so much for your course yesterday. It was absolutely perfect. You are a great communicator and you kept everyone engaged and in awe, all day. Your course is superbly supported by resources and you so willingly and generously share your ideas, experiences and knowledge.

Jamie Marsden, Whenuakite School


We all thoroughly enjoyed the course and the teachers wished they had done it years ago. It is always refreshing to have your enthusiastic, professional and slick delivery – fantastic! Everyone is inspired!

Annie Evans, Taikura Steiner School


I just wanted to say thank you so much Yolanda – your programme has made a big difference!

Michelle Pontifex, Seatoun School


The phonics has had a positive impact not just in the reading and spelling, but most importantly, in the way the children are writing. They’re taking risks, they’re more confident and their writing is so much more adventurous. We’re delighted with what your phonics training has done for our children.

Rob Callaghan, Principal, Kaiapoi North School


This was my third time through this course and I just wanted you to know that I still gained heaps out of it. I adapt what you do, but use many of your techniques, as I find that your methods use minimal words to get the message across. In teaching struggling readers, I have to ‘over-teach’ many times and it is easy to become too ‘wordy’. Your prompts keep my teaching effective and to the point. I was also reminded again of the importance of constant revision at letter, word, and text level to maintain fluency. I have truly found this course the most worthwhile seminar I have done in all my teaching years.

Ros Gray, St Anne’s Catholic School


Your course was comprehensive, professional, based on best practice and inspiring. And when I got back to the classroom I was pleased to find that doing phonics daily translated to improvements in reading, written language and most importantly students’ confidence.

Pam Jacomb, Lyttleton West School


The most valuable training I have ever been on. Yolanda, you are a fantastic motivator!

Shelley Matuku, Y0/1 teacher, Wainui School


I really enjoyed today- that was actually my second time hearing you and it was AWESOME. Was great to know that I have been on track with what I have been doing with my class and have picked up reminders on how to make my Phonics/ Literacy programme EVEN BETTER! Thanks again – very inspiring.

Maegan Copping, Y2 teacher, Motueka South School


Your training exceeded my expectations. The study of phonics was part of my teacher training in England (some years ago!) but this course has given me new ideas and has made more sense than anything I have been taught before. I can see how the teaching strategies fit into the bigger picture of literacy. Thank you for an inspirational course.

Kay Wieck, Y2 teacher, Sefton School


Fantastic! It was great to go to a course that actually told me how to teach phonics, not just the theory!

Michelle Day, NE/Y1 teacher, Ranui School


The best course I have ever done. Having a degree in linguistics I can resolutely say that this has helped me more in my teaching of phonics than a BA and B Ed combined! Thank you.

Julia Palmer, Y1 teacher, Helensville School


Our teachers are excited and enthused by the phonics because they are seeing the results already. Having Yolanda’s guidance and support in school after the initial training has ensured the success of the programme at Roydvale. The professional conversations about phonics between staff, whether they be teachers, teacher aides or the Principal show that everyone is speaking the same language.

Paul Dolan, Principal, Roydvale School


Thanks once more for the fantastic, inspiring phonics demonstration on Wednesday afternoon. The staff are buzzing and are very motivated! We just find the phonics programme has made such big changes in our children. (We also loved watching you teach!)

Lisa Kaye, AP, Onekawa School


As a New Entrant teacher I absolutely loved the day as it was completely relevant to me and the needs of the students in my class.

Jo Flavell, NE teacher, Kimihia Primary School


This has been the most useful literacy programme to date that I’ve attended.

Lorraine Tidey, (Year 1 teacher), Khandallah School


I am blown away. It will work for so many of my kids, I can already see it. The training was well paced! Enthusiastic! PRACTICAL! I can’t wait to get started!

Ange Lamb, Assistant Principal, West Park School


I just wanted to say what a fantastic day I had on your course today. You have a great energy and there wasn’t one moment where you didn’t have the full engagement of the audience. I have been to many PD courses over my 9 years of teaching but this was definitely one of the best so far. I can put it into practice immediately – it makes sense. I think this is going to change my literacy programme.

Tanya Stone, Dominion Rd School


Can I just say a big thank you for presenting such a comprehensive course (the best I’ve ever been to). Not only did you give practical/hands on activities but also lesson plans, assessment ideas, resources, modelling and you also showed how phonics works within the bigger picture of literacy teaching.

Anne-Marie Montague, St Joseph’s Catholic School, Levin


I was at the Rotorua course last week and although I have been teaching your phonics method for a couple of terms already, I am totally re-inspired. I can already see improvements in children’s writing. I have been completing your assessment sheets – particularly for my inquiry target group – I am now easily able to see where the gaps are and what I need to do next.

Jodie Appleton, Waipahi School


Thank you for your great delivery. You were very easy to listen to. The resources are really useful and straight forward. I’m looking forward to implementing this in my NE class.

Kirsty Stone, Longbeach School


Brilliant: the best PD I’ve been on. I liked the speed of the training. It was fast, valuable: fantastic!

Faencha Doyle, St Benedict’s School


Every teacher should do your course! Very rarely you go to a course and are interested and awake for a whole 2 hours, then come away inspired, armed and ready to put it all into practice.

Megan Marsh, Special Need Teacher, St Albans School


I like the way you get right to the nuts and bolts of the whole area of phonics. What wonderful empowerment for children.

Gaylene Cooper, Glenbrae and Owairaka Schools


This training was excellent. You had me listening all the time. It exceeded all my expectations and has given me lots of ideas to take back to school.

Sue Carter, Teacher Aide, Wainui School


One of the few courses that provides you with everything you need to go off and teach right away: lesson plans, assessments, all the info from planning to teaching and assessing.

Suzanne Liggett, NE teacher, Ohoka School


An excellent course, very organised, very professional. Value for money.

Diane La Trobe, Y1/2 teacher, Sandspit School


Fantastic, a very informative course with a good delivery.

Deborah MacGarth, Y2 teacher, Manurewa Central School


This course outdid my expectations. I now feel that I have enough knowledge and support material and structure to teach my NE/Y1 class.

Fiona Hanning, Y0/1 teacher, Papatoetoe South School


I finally know how to really teach phonics. Yay!

Catherine Frazerhurst, Y2 teacher, Manurewa Central School


Gail and I both loved the phonics training we completed yesterday. Please pass on to Yolanda how great it is. We have come back to school so inspired and excited!!!!!!

Anna Molloy, Beckenham School


The best course I have been to, very practical and inspiring. I can’t wait to get started!

Liz Blackwell, Ngaio School


It’s great to have a programme that is tried and true, based on sound research and developed for New Zealand schools. I can implement this in my classroom tomorrow without having to buy expensive resources.

Linda Grant, NE teacher, New Lynn School


I want to start it yesterday! Your training more than matched my expectations. Thank you for your infectious enthusiasm.

Claire Brickell, Y0/1 teacher, Ranui School


Thank you for your excellent course at Halswell. I’ve received lots of feedback from other staff about how much they got out of it and how well you presented it. It was great. Thanks again.

Cathie Zelas, AP, Halswell School


Thank you for this amazing insight. It has opened a whole new world to me. Unlike many initiatives in education, this one works! Brilliant.

Anna-Maria Williams, Reading Recovery Teacher, Christ the King School

How long should Stage 1 be taught?

Stage 1 is a continual process. The ideal time to teach the Stage 1 activities is from birth to four or five years. For children at school, spend a few weeks ‘catching up’ on Stage 1 if necessary, or begin your Stage 2 lesson with a two or three minute Stage 1 activity as a warm up.

... and Stage 2?

If you teach five lessons a week, it should take about six weeks to teach Stage 2. Most New Entrants need to do Stage 2 twice, with a focus on the writing in the second cycle. Some children may require longer at Stage 2. For a small minority of children with learning difficulties, it may take a year or longer to teach Stage 2. Monitor closely by assessment to ensure that continual progress is being made.

... and Stage 3?

It takes three or four lessons to complete Stage 3 so allow a week for this stage.

... and Stage 4?

Teach one medial vowel phoneme a week and allow five lessons per phoneme. If teaching daily, allow five weeks to teach all 25 lessons.

Most children need only one cycle of Stage 4. Do not repeat Stage 4 as this becomes boring and seldom fixes the children’s errors. Instead just work on any confusions or difficulties shown by the assessments, eg, confusing ‘u’ and ‘a’, or not hearing sounds in order.

... and Stage 5?

Allow one or two lessons for each phoneme as by now the children know the lesson structure. There are 12 phonemes to be taught. So allow five to six weeks (teaching daily) to teach all the phonemes.

... and Stage 6?

Teach over the course of the year. If teaching daily, it will take about six months to teach all the lessons in Stages 6 and 7.

When teaching a new phoneme at Stage 6, allow at least two lessons to teach the first grapheme for that phoneme. Then introduce the next grapheme for the same phoneme. Allow three or four lessons to ensure that the children can move flexibly between both graphemes before introducing the next one. Again, spend another three or four lessons ensuring the children have learnt all three and know which words have which grapheme before teaching the next grapheme.

... and Stage 7?

Teach over the course of the year. If teaching daily, it will take about six months to teach all the lessons in Stages 6 and 7.

When teaching a new phoneme at Stages 7, allow at least two lessons to teach the first grapheme for that phoneme. Then introduce the next grapheme for the same phoneme. Allow three or four lessons here ensuring that the children can move flexibly between both graphemes before introducing the next one. Again, spend another three or four lessons here ensuring the children have learnt all three and know which words have which grapheme before teaching the next grapheme.